Wednesday, January 6, 2021

State of the Floral Industry Today, January 6th 2021

 We all have high hopes that 2021 will bring some normalcy to our lives.   However, the impacts of 2020 are still rippling through most retail industries.  For example, most retailers base purchasing off of the same time frame from the prior year.   2020 was a total cluster--- to put it bluntly.   It provides no baseline AT ALL for retailers to make any kind of predictions or clear decisions about what to buy, how much, and when to get it in (if it gets shipped on time)  

Flower farms were literally throwing away product last year around April and May because nothing could be shipped out of South America, and no one was buying due to shutdowns.   Many farms plowed under their crops to cut their losses.  Then they(the growers) needed to plant flowers in May and June that would mature and be ready for harvest in January.  This January.  With limited personnel due to either Covid Restrictions or the Illness itself, the number of flower crops that were planted was drastically reduced.  

This week alone I have not been able to order in basic flowers such as Snapdragons, Larkspur, some Delphiniums, and Tulips.  Limited supplies mean anything that was available Monday is now bought up and new shipments won't be coming until the weekend.  

Where am I going with this?   

I had a customer who was quite irritated when I had to call them about the order they placed on our website for a specific arrangement.  I could not fulfill as pictured because I did not have - and could not get- the flowers in that arrangement. I hate making any customer unhappy but what flowers are available this week are completely out of my control.  COVID is STILL making things difficult for retailers to maintain inventory and keep everyone happy with the selections available.   

Please== be patient.   We are not psychic, we do not know what will sell, how many, and when it will sell.  We are doing the best we can to maintain flower inventory based on day to day sales.   These flowers need to be shipped from South America and Europe, we do not have greenhouses with these flowers "out back" somewhere that we can harvest from.   

Valentines day is right around the corner and I fully anticipate product that order not arriving on time, not being available at the time of shipment, and the possibility that we may disappoint some customers. 

Contrary to popular belief, florists don't "get rich" off of Valentines day with the prices we charge.  OUR prices triple so basic economics suggests the customers' price triple as well.   Do I like it- No.    Valentines day is no different profit wise than any other day- we're just doing ten times the volume we would do on a normal day.   I would much prefer a steady flow of orders the entire month then the craziness that is Valentines week.   

My hope for 2021 is this; that the vaccines become widely available, we all stay healthy, and no one gets shut down again. 

Friday, November 6, 2020

Covid19 Weddings aka Love during the Coronavirus

 Getting married has definitely changed over the past couple of months in Virginia.  You can still get married but the size and scope of your wedding may be different than you had originally imagined.  

Even if your wedding is just you and your love, we can still provide flowers for an intimate wedding !

Located 2 blocks west of the Frederick County Courthouse, We can have a wedding bouquet and matching boutonniere ready to go in as little as 45 minutes.   Obviously color and flower choices will be limited to what we have in stock daily, however, we do get flowers in every other day and our inventory changes.  Here are some of our same day Ready-to-Wed bouquets, boutonnieres and yes, even a corsage added on for a witness! 

Light Blue Hydrangea, Lavender Roses, Stock 

Peach spray roses, cream alstroemeria, white stock
white hydrangea

White sweetheart rose corsage with pink waxflower

Groom Boutonniere of white rose and waxflower

 All white bouquet of white lilies, roses, baby's breath and greenery

Pink alstroemeria, white roses, white carnations

Lavender roses, purple stock, white hydrangea, white waxflower, lavender limonium .

Monday, August 31, 2020

Message Inspiration: Sympathy

For Sympathy

Going to a funeral home,Church or home :
     Keep it short and to the point! There will be many, many cards, memorial gifts, and flower arrangements.  This is an overwhelming time for the family of the deceased.
Rule of thumb, if it's longer than 1 sentence, it should probably be sent to the home directly in a personal handwritten card.

Some messages for cards:

In our thoughts and prayers, from/love _______

With our deepest sympathies ,from/love _________

With heartfelt sympathy, from/love___________

Thinking of you, from/love _____

Thinking of you at this time*. from/love _________

*It is not necessary to put "at this time of loss, sorrow, etc.  They already know why you're sending the flowers, it's redundant to state loss, sorrow, etc.

In Loving memory of __________,from/love, ________

With fond memories of __________, we extend our condolences, from/love_________

With Sympathy, from/love _________

With love, from/ love_________

______ will always be remembered, love/from:_____

Sending healing thoughts to you and your family, from/love______

Sending warm thoughts to you and your family, from/love______

**A short bible or religious verse**, from/love ______

Monday, June 29, 2020

COVID-19 & Flowers

Running a small business this year is hard.  Running a small business that relies on imported fresh product is even harder.  90% of the fresh flowers we sell are imported from other countries, mostly in South America.

In countries that export, a sharp sudden decline in demand for flowers meant millions of stems of flowers being thrown away. Why ? Because the flower industry is a global economy and is balanced by a constant flow of demand and supply. 

For example:

Imagine throwing a weekly dinner party for say, 100 people.  You're supplying all of the food and beverages.   One week everyone cancels.  You already have the food. The next week they cancel you have two weeks worth of food that you are throwing away because you cannot possibly consume the quantity of food you now have on hand.  Plus it's perishable and maybe the bananas look okay but that salmon was toast after 3 days. Flowers are the same situation.

We do have some local resources for flowers but when the first restrictions were put in place in March, that meant many of the US farms had to shut down- for good.  Fresh flowers need to be harvested off the plants to promote new growth.  If no one is there to harvest, package and ship, eventually the business has to plow under the plants and call it a loss. 

Now that we've been open for a little over a month I can tell you things are never going to be the same for our industry.

Flights with cargo containing flowers may get bumped or canceled.  Airports might become completely shutdown due to sudden spike in Covid19 cases.   Yes the US is starting to reopen, but South America is just now riding the Covid19 wave.   This could mean serious implications on what flowers are available in the coming months.    Ecuador is one of the largest producers of roses worldwide.  Imagine ordering roses and not being able to get them until a week later instead of the next day.  That is a very real possibility. 

I have already struggled to get product in on a regular basis.  It's frustrating and there is really nothing I can do about it.  There is nothing my suppliers can do either.   Many of the sales and delivery personnel for the wholesale sector were laid off in March and were not called back by May.   Everyone in small business is trying to cut costs any way they can.  Labor is one of the biggest overhead cost in a small business like flower shops.  It is also the hardest one to scale back because we NEED people to run a business. 

Every week that I am open, I am grateful.   This is definitely a daily struggle to cover costs and make any sort of a profit.  There is a large misconception that small business owners are paying themselves really well and are taking all the profits for their own pockets.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Many small business owners draw a salary that is less per hour than minimum wage pays in some states.  Some even take less of a salary than what they will pay their most valuable employees.   Why?  Because we want our business to be successful, to have that pride in what you have accomplished and built.  If we wanted to be rich we would go work for a big corporation that can offer sick pay, health insurance and 401k benefits.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Message Inspiration: Love and Romance

For Romance, new or established:

Thinking of you

I can't get you off my mind

I can't wait to see you

Hoping this brightens your day

Hoping this brightens your day as much as you brighten mine

You mean the world to me

You are so important to me

I love you so much

You have filled me with happiness

I am so blessed to have you in my life

I look forward to all of the years ahead of us

          Quotes from literature/poets/authors:

"Life is the flower for which love is the honey" Victor Hugo

"To love and be loved is to feel the sun from both sides" David Viscott

"Let us always meet each other with a smile, for the smile is the beginning of love"  Mother Theresa

"If I know what love is, it is because of you" Hermann Hesse

"A woman knows the face of the man she loves as a sailor knows the open sea" Honore de Balzac

"Love is friendship that has caught fire" Ann Landers

Need more inspiration?  Check out planet of success or brainy quote

Thursday, October 4, 2018

AIFD Red Gala Day 2 Evening

What is a international floral convention without a ball? 

The theme was Red and the decor was GORGEOUS!    
We work hard at convention, there is so much manual labor that goes into this event and all the other shows that week.  

Black Tie events require a quick change from workroom clothes to ballgown worthy this case less than an hour! 
I picked up this gorgeous dress at She Said Yes Consignment in Winchester.   

Me and my lovely Co-Chair Sheryl Timmermann AIFD: 

the food, because designers love an artistic plate of dessert! 
More Pictures of the decor and flowers courtesy of the AIFD Facebook page: 

AIFD Convention Day 2/ Blooms Over DC

Blooms Over Program takes all the leftover flowers from the runway shows, etc  and recycles them into arrangements / bouquets to be distributed to the general public at places like hospitals, hospice, retirement centers and the like.
      This program began in 1993 by Kurt Pamper AIFD at the San Francisco Symposium, and has been a part of symposium every year since.

This was the first year I have chaired a program, and the first year AIFD has partnered with another company to expand the Blooms Over program to reach its maximum potential.    We (AIFD) contacted  Petal Share, a non-profit organization that has been recycling flowers from weddings and special events in the DC area for several years now. 

Heather at Petal Share was instrumental in working with me to reach so many people this year in the DC area.  Her knowledge of  the facilities and people that would benefit the most from our program was a tremendous help.

Recycling flowers doesn't sound very difficult but it does require planning and organization.   We designed and delivered 960 bouquets....that is a lot of hard work to make and deliver...over a 48 hour period. 

So from the beginning, this is what my work area looked like:

Flowers needed to be organized by type, prototypes made, and volunteers assembled to make all those bouquets! 

The Blooms program had so many talented designers drop in and make beautiful bouquets all day long and into the next day.  Student designers from Ohio State University, College of Nevada, Idaho, and Golden West College.  

The logistics of packing up and delivering these bouquets, keeping count, and schlepping buckets of water all over the hotel kept us busy.  

  Sending Heather pics of the buckets so she could gauge how many buckets would fit in her truck and the vehicles of the Petal Share volunteers the next day.  I couldn't find a tape measure so, yes, I used my foot!